Potter, W.J., Pashupati, K., Pekurny, R.G., Hoffman, E., & Davis, K. (2002). Perception of television: A schema. Media Psychology, 4 (1), 27-50.

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine the relative contributions of two factors – content and schema – as an explanation for how people make interpretations about how much violence they perceive in television programs. An experiment was conducted in which 99 participants (32% male, aged 19-32 yrs) were exposed to either a high, moderate, or low amount of violence in one episode of a broadcasted television series. This study offers support for three major propositions. First, television viewers rely much more on their personal schema than on program content in constructing their interpretations of violence. Second, when interpreting violence, viewers share a story schema that focuses on the characteristics of explicitness and graphicness. Third, although viewers may share the same story schema, they appear to make different judgments on the schema elements, and hence their judgments about violence vary. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)